One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser
Rudi was going to market with the tanner’s daughter, Susannah, she was six. Rudi said he was allowed to sell a cow as well as the milk and butter, if he got a good price. At the market Rudi is separated from Susannah. She says she has sold his cow for magical beans. They look like ordinary beans to Rudi. He knows his family will not want to lose a cow for beans to a foreign person no less.
Rudi races home where he talks to his grandmother. She thinks that the beans might indeed be magic, but they should go ask the witch up on the hill. Everyone knows she is a witch, but people simply say she is an old woman. Rudi and Susannah go to see her. She confirms that the beans are indeed magic and they should go back to the land from which they came, but she could not go there herself because only one witch was allowed in one land at a time. Rudi and Susannah would have to go. She tells Rudi to plant one of the beans at the border between the lands. He does and a beanstalk grows.
Rudi and Susannah climb to the top where they endeavor to return the beans to the witch there, who is a giant and a man. A girl named Agatha is going with them, but it turns out she’s the girl who started the trouble in the first place. She helps with the task, sort of, but she doesn’t like the witch. Rudi tells her that there can only be one witch so if someone were to take the place of the witch there, then maybe Agatha could get what she wished.
What I liked
This was a fairly entertaining story. I liked the twists on traditional fairy tales. I liked how the people in the story admit there’s a witch, but don’t admit there’s a witch. They secretly acknowledge that they don’t know all the pieces of things, but outwardly they persist in putting on a front that everything can be explained. Typical humans.
What I didn’t like
The whole one witch at a time thing seems illogical, but it’s not my written world.
Everything ended up ok.
Would you trade a cow for magic beans?
If there is something you can’t explain do you admit you know the answer, or do you put up the front that you think it’s silly?